What is a Retention Pond?

While it may look like a regular water feature, a retention pond serves a much greater purpose. Growing communities are at increased risk of flooding and erosion damage from excess stormwater runoff. Retention ponds are permanent structures designed to hold water flow for a short period of time, similar to a dam. In response to a storm, the pond’s water level fluctuates, reducing risk and saving the community from potential flood damage and costly repairs.

HOA Liability

Forget swimming pools—while necessary in many communities, retention ponds can easily be considered an HOA’s greatest liability and expense. Not only do they pose a constant drowning hazard for residents, but they also require continuous maintenance and planning. Because of the high cost of the initial installation, monthly maintenance and periodic removal of sediment buildup, it is recommended that associations set aside 12% of their yearly budget for a small retention pond, and up to 35% for a larger pond.

Retention Pond Maintenance

An unkept retention pond is destined to fail. If the local government does not own it, it becomes the association’s responsibility to keep the pond in working order, and they are also responsible for any expenses incurred. This includes regular inspections, especially after severe storms or heavy rain, to identify and repair areas of erosion, gullies, and other damage; removing sediment and debris from the pond before they reach the outlets; and beautifying the surrounding banks with grass, shrubs, and other vegetation.

Buying a Home Near a Retention Pond?

While there are some advantages to living near a retention pond—peace and quiet, green space, fewer neighbors nearby, and a decreased risk of flooding—potential buyers have other factors to consider. For example, there is a constant danger of drowning for families with young children. Should the pond ever overflow, your home may be the first to flood. And finally, retention basins can affect property value, depending on how they are maintained and how well they function. Potential buyers should be aware of who owns the pond and how well they protect their investment before moving in.


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